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Doctors are using electronic records more - but liking them less

Doctors’ use of electronic health records has gone up in recent years — and so has their dislike for the digital record keeping.

There’s a lot of enthusiasm in the health policy community for electronic health records and how they could improve patient care, by being available anywhere, while also lowering costs. Doctors’ use of electronic health records has grown in recent years.

As doctors go digital, however, they’re having more and more gripes about it. A new survey of 500 physicians finds that electronic health records have become less popular as they have become more widespread, with fewer saying the costs of setting one up are worth the benefits of having electronic record keeping.

The doctors in this survey thought that electronic health records interfere with patient care: When they spend more time looking at a computer they’re spending less time interacting with a patient. They have also become more skeptical that electronic record keeping will reduce errors or improve efficiency.

Recent academic research suggests that the skepticism may be warranted. Researchers have looked for a connection between electronic record keeping and quality of health outcomes. Many have failed to find it. Doctors, in their offices across the country, don’t seem to be finding that connection either.

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